BUSINESS AVIATION BOOMING IN SAUDI ARABIA

Flights in 2016 continuing to follow the trend
 

 Business aviation flights in Saudi Arabia increased by 6% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2016, according to statistics from WINGX released at the MEBAA Conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which concluded recently.

“Business aviation is an expanding market in the Middle East,” says Ali Alnaqbi, Founding Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Business Aviation Association (MEBAA). “According to WINGX business aviation flights from Saudi Arabia in particular increased 13.8% year-on-year in 2014 and 14.7% to 2015. The first quarter of 2016 shows that flights are still increasing in the region, with the trend extending into this year.”

Alnaqbi was speaking at the MEBAA Conference in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia where many key players in the business aviation industry had gathered to hear from speakers regarding the challenges facing the industry.

“As an organisation, MEBAA aims to provide the platform for the industry to meet and grow.” Alnaqbi continues, “And by working with WINGX to discover specific regional trends and data, we are able to provide dedicated information that provides value to our members.”

There were almost 3500 business jet flights from Saudi Arabia in 2015, with over 80% of them taking off from King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh, and King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah. The most popular city pairs included Le Bourget in Paris, London Luton and London Stansted.

Speaking at the event, Ahmed Al Ansari, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Dubai South quoted Bombardier Market Forecast stating that the Middle East will be the fastest developing region for business aviation in the world with fleet growth of 7% by 2030. He continued, “With its high concentration of high net worth individuals, Saudi Arabia remains one of the most promising of the GCC markets in terms of this demand. In addition, private jet usage in KSA is also higher than the global and regional average.”

Al Ansari noted that as the Gulf countries diversify, the resulting increase in trade and business will attract more air traffic. He highlighted that with that comes the need for greater infrastructure, airport capacity and airport access for private jets to accommodate the growth in the Business Aviation sector.

Over one hundred attendees to the event discussed challenges and opportunities to the business aviation market with panels led by industry leaders bringing new insights to the crowd. Alnaqbi himself looked at the challenges of dealing with the unlicensed grey market, which has posed a threat to the industry for some time, with MEBAA spearheading the drive to eradicate it.

Other panellists at the event included Daniel Hawes, Aviation & Specialties Practice Leader, Willis Saudi Arabia Company Limited, Ruedi Kraft, Vice President Business Development, Jet Aviation AG and Faisal Alsaddik, Executive Chief Commercial Affairs, Saudia Private Aviation, among many others, following the well received keynote address from H.E. Captain Abdulhakim M. Albadir, Assistant President, Safety, Security and Air Transport, the General Authority of Civil Aviation.

The next MEBAA Conferences are set to take place in Qatar on 21 September 2016 and Dubai, UAE on 5 December 2016.

Photo: Daniel Hawes, Aviation & Specialties Practice Leader, Willis Saudi Arabia Company Limited, Ruedi Kraft, Vice President Business Development, Jet Aviation AG and Faisal Alsaddik, Executive Chief Commercial Affairs, Saudia Private Aviation take part in the 'Dealing with the Grey Market' panel at the MEBAA Conference in Saudi Arabia, moderated by Ribhi Al Husseini, General Manager, First Premium

 

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